Bijon Dhar
FIle image of Tripura Left Front convener Bijan Dhar. Image: Northeast Now

The CPI-M led Left Front opposition in Tripura on Sunday demanded free and fair polling in the Tripura East seat which goes to the polls in the second phase on April 18.

The Left Front also reiterating its demand to hold re-poll in 464 of the 1,679 polling stations in the Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency, where polling was conducted on April 11 next.

The Left parties would hold a sit-in here on Tuesday in support of their demands.

Left Front convenor Bijan Dhar on Sunday has told the chief electoral officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti not to turn the Lok Sabha polls in the Tripura East seat on April 18 into a ‘farce’ as was done in the Tripura West constituency on April 11.

Dhar, who led a five-member delegation to the CEO to submit their memorandum, said even Taranikanti confessed that he had received over 800 complaints during the first phase of polling which were being scrutinized by the returning officer of the Tripura West seat along with other poll related documents and electronic devises which documented the balloting.

Dhar, a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) central committee member, said, “Since the first parliamentary elections in the country in 1952, Tripura had never witnessed such farcical and violent polling as was witnessed by the people of the State on April 11.

“The traditional festive milieu was completely missing during the first phase of polling, as the BJP workers and their hoodlums intimidated, prevented and attacked thousands of voters, including innocent BJP supporters, on the polling day and even few days before the voting.”

“Even during the Congress rule (before 1978 and 1988-1993), the people of Tripura never witnessed such a mockery of polling. The BJP workers and their goons drove out Left and other parties’ polling agents from hundreds of polling stations and prevented thousands of opposition supporters from casting their votes,” he added.

Demanding the effective deployment of central paramilitary forces and state forces for the second phase of polling, the Left leaders said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments at the Centre and in Tripura kept the security forces out of poll duties to facilitate rigging by its party workers.

The Left delegation to the CEO, which included state CPI-M secretary Gautam Das and leaders from the Forward Bloc, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Communist Party of India, demanded adequate deployment of central paramilitary forces in all the 1,645 polling stations in the Tripura East constituency, which is reserved for the tribals.

The delegation also alleged that on April 11, state Agriculture Minister Pranajit Singh Roy and several other BJP MLAs freely roamed around many polling areas and indulged in electoral malpractices.

Later, rubbishing the allegations, BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee said in a media briefing that CPI-M candidate Shankar Prasad Datta had instigated the police to arrest and torture saffron party members in Barjala, near Agartala, on Saturday.

“The opposition parties, especially the CPI-M, have got a clear message of their impending defeat. That’s why they are trying to deteriorate the law and order situation in the State,” Bhattacharjee said.

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